Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Setting myself free - an IWSG post


  This post is part of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG), a great place to share troubles and triumphs with fellow writers. To find more blogs on this hop, and to sign up yourself head over to Alex J Cavanaugh's blog to find out more. He's definitely one worth following.


Although I like to be as organised as I can, setting deadlines, writing lists, keeping track of my progress, etc. I actually find for my writing this kind of behaviour is counter-productive. 
With a full time job, a four year old, OU study and a house and husband to keep I need to be fairly organised to keep on top of everything, and in this context having lists all over the place works well.

But not so for writing. I've tried so many times to come up with a structured and methodical way of going about writing for competitions, or starting on something longer, getting ready for NaNoWriMo so many times but eventually failing. This year I tried doing the Don't Break the Chain Challenge and the Writers Book of Days, and if I look closely at the statistics for both then I'm failing miserably at those too.

I'm feeling down because I'm not achieving these goals and I'm doing it to myself. I'm beginning to realise that writing should be the one area of my life where I can feel completely free to be and do what I want to, but instead I'm trying too much to control it like everything else going on in my life.

Last week I decided to abandon these challenges, even logging my word count for each day, and my mind felt a lot freer and my writing flowed more easily. I've been so busy scheduling and keeping track of my writing stuff I'd lost sight of the actual writing and why I wanted to do it in the first place.

So, this is my new strategy (for now), to let go of all this administrative stuff and just get on with the writing. I'm still learning the skill and finding my voice as a writer. Once I'm comfortable with my style and my stories then I can go to the next level of submitting and setting deadlines.

There's a long journey ahead of me and I'm going to enjoy the early stages of finding myself. When I let myself go it's much more fun anyway!

What stage are you at on your journey? Are you organised or do you just wing it?



  1. I think that, no matter how much we plan and organize, we have to remember that 'writers write'. They don't plan or organize....they write.

    I mean, don't get me wrong, the planning and organizing isn't really a 'bad'thing, but if it's getting in the way of writing, then it has to go.

    Best of luck and keep writing!

  2. I am the opposite of organized. I'm trying to figure out on what and how should I devote my time. But since you have figured out what works for you, keep writing!

  3. I like to have some kind of organization, so I can keep track of my progress over time. That said, if you've found something that works for you, keep it up! :)

  4. Like you, I find when I get too obsessed with a daily word count that I end up choking my creativity altogether. I do have goals set for myself, but I mostly just wing it.

    A writer absolutely has to do what's right for them.

  5. I NEVER work to self-imposed deadlines. Like you it seems to stifle my creativity. goals, sure, but deadlines just make me freeze up!

  6. The only structure I give myself is to write. Five hundred words minimum every day, whether blog, fiction, scribbled notes for a poem...anything. If all else fails, I write a diary entry. But it keeps the writing coming.

  7. I actually had the same realisation about a month ago, I was doing the 100000 words in 100 days challenge, and in the end I was more focused on the word count than the actual words I was writing. Since giving it up, my head has been clearer and my writing better because of it. I have to agree with you, I think writing works best when you don't tie yourself down too much.

  8. Wow, you're one busy person! I don't even try for certain goals because I know I probably won't make it. The rest of life is pressure enough, and when I start doing that in my writing, my brain blocks. And it's not fun anymore. First and foremost, writing is something to enjoy. When that's no longer the case, something's wrong.

  9. I'm not a huge planner and don't use an official outline when writing, but do keep some notes. They help ... some, but writing goes in so many different directions when inspiration strikes. Take heart, you're not alone. :)
    Silvia (from A to Z Challenge)